acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, IVF, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The essence of my Master of Health Science (TCM) degree boiled down to 6 things you might not know about women’s health

2013: The original crew in our second year. We're all lecturers at Endeavour College of Natural Health now: Nicky Macdonald, Sarah George, Lori-Ellen Grant, David Schievenin
2013: The original crew in our second year. We’re all lecturers at Endeavour College of Natural Health now: Nicky Macdonald, Sarah George, Lori-Ellen Grant, David Schievenin

After four years of studying a Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) degree at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), balancing study with lecturing and clinical practice, I can say that I have finally finished! (It’s been such a long time the uni has even changed its name in that time to Western Sydney University – WSU!)

I am really glad I’ve had the opportunity to do this course. I have learnt so much, made great friends and studied under some of the great Chinese Medicine teachers in the world.

While I’m very grateful to have my Saturday nights back (no more late night researching and assignment writing) here’s a few things I am very happy to have learnt while reading everything I could on the following women’s health topics:

I studied a diverse range of topics in addition to women’s health (eg. osteoarthritis, anorgasmia and irritable bowel syndrome) which I’ll cover in subsequent blogs.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, fertility, pregnancy

4 things you always wanted to know about acupuncture in pregnancy

Kathleen and I presenting at the Woodford Folk Festival's Blue Lotus stage.
Kathleen and I presenting at the Woodford Folk Festival’s Blue Lotus stage.

So my gorgeous friend and one of Sydney’s finest naturopaths, Kathleen Murphy, asked me some questions last week about the use of acupuncture in pregnancy.

The questions were all about those things you’ve always wondered about:

  • Is acupuncture safe?
  • What can it do?
  • What about those acupuncture inductions?
  • Can it really help a baby to turn into a good position for birth?

Well I’ve answered all these and more… check out my answers here.

And check out Kathleen’s blog too – she shares some fantastic ideas on healthy living. Kathleen consults with patients at a clinic in Double Bay.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, IVF, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Can acupuncture enhance your fertility and support your pregnancy?

Pregnant belly kissHere’s a little guest piece I wrote for the Endeavour College of Natural Health Wellnation Clinics, How can Chinese Medicine enhance your fertility?

Helping men and women with fertility and those subsequent pregnancies is one of my favourite areas of practice, and one that I have studied intensively and had a lot of experience in treating with acupuncture and natural medicine treatment (whether it’s pre-conception care, assisting a patient with polycystic ovarian syndrome or low sperm count, or supporting a patient through IVF).

If you wish to have a baby, are having difficulty in conceiving or are looking for supportive care in pregnancy, please contact me. I’d be happy to assist you with your journey.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, pregnancy

Hip (h)op, sore necks and pelvic pain in pregnancy: what do they have in common?

Survived my first (and hopefully only) operation.
Daggy selfy alert! I survived my first (and hopefully only) operation.

The answer is: they sum up where my time went last month.

Yes, I’ve been quiet the last four weeks. And for good reason. But the great news is I’m back on deck and The Wellness Ninja is once again karate chopping out the good news for your health and happiness.

So here’s a recap:

  • Hip (h)op: Well this time last month I was having a hip arthroscopy. With a nicely cleaned-up hip joint, I should be back into the karate, hiking, cycling and diving that I love in around two months. I’m doing very well in my recovery (I was back at work a week later) and will put out a blog on the combination of complementary therapies I’ve engaged to support me in tolerating the most medications I’ve ever taken in my life, healing connective tissue, relieving pain and rehabilitating my dodgy ‘hoppy’ hip.
  • Sore necks: We’re half way through the UWS Traditional Chinese Medicine Masters course semester and so I’ve been beavering away on my assessment pieces. First up, I immersed myself in all of the available research we have on neck pain and acupuncture. My findings? Well, actually no therapies have high-quality research to support their use in neck pain. (And that includes surgery, NSAIDs, chiropractic, massage, yoga and acupuncture.) That’s not much help for people with neck pain. But The Cochrane Review on this topic reports that there is moderate-quality evidence to support the use of acupuncture for chronic mechanical neck pain or neck pain with radicular symptoms. And the chance of serious adverse reactions is low. In my experience neck pain is often treated well with acupuncture, it may be well worth a try for a pain in the neck.
  • Low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy: This was assignment number two’s topic. I’ve written before on the good effect acupuncture has in this area. Last week I read everything that there was to read in English on the treatment of low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy with acupuncture. Safety, for both mother and baby, was carefully assessed in these trials which found that acupuncture does not have a higher rate of serious adverse reactions for the mother or the baby than was experienced in the control groups. A Cochrane Review reports that there is moderate-quality evidence for pain relief and improved functionality with acupuncture treatment for these conditions. But I loved this quote from an editorial in the British Medical Journal:

“Those caring for women with pregnancy related pelvic pain now need to press for increased availability of acupuncture.”

So that’s my month (well not completely – I also devoured series one and two of the TV series ‘Rake‘). I have so many good blog topics in a back log ready to come your way. Stay tuned for some tasty new recipes, some acupuncture stroke rehabilitation research I recently presented at a major hospital, information on an acclaimed new book on motherhood and the scent on some new medicinal aromatherapy oils.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The role of change in fertility treatment

My great friend and excellent Chinese medicine practitioner, Peter Kington, has written his piece on ‘change’ for The Health and Happiness Collective blog hop today.

Peter shares his experience about where lifestyle, diet, acupuncture and herbal medicine changes are necessary on the fertility journey. While some of these changes are easier than others, I completely agree with Peter’s ideas here – this is also my experience in helping my fertility patients too. We want to give you the support you need to make changes which will enhance the likelihood of a healthier pregnancy, a healthier baby and to recover better from your birth.

Read Peter’s excellent post: Change and the Fertile Body.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

fertility, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Listening, thinking and talking about mothers and babies

capers cam 15 mayThe last few weeks have been crammed with several great professional education seminars.

Of note, was the Womens Health Conference held on 20th April 2013. I was privileged to spend the day in the company of a roomful of general practitioners (GPs) as we all learnt from obstetricians, paedatricians, gynaecologists and fertility specialists on topics including:

  • Childbirth and the pelvic floor
  • Prolapse and stress incontinence
  • The role of counselling in infertility
  • Tumour markers
  • Menorrhagia and dysmenorrhoea
  • Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
  • Obesity and pregnancy

This also included several question and answer sessions in small groups with the specialists.  Here is where we got to ask all of those burning questions we store up from practice.  It was a valuable day of adding to my knowledge of obstetrics and gynaecology from a western medical viewpoint.

And next month on Wednesday 15th May, I am excited to say I get to share my Traditional Chinese Medicine knowledge on some of these topics (including acupressure techniques for birth) at the Capers Bookstore Complementary & Alternative Medicine in Pregnancy, Birth & the Early Postnatal Period.  This is a seminar attached to the The Passage to Motherhood Conference that is targeted to midwives , obstetricians, paediatricians, general practitioners, lactation consultants, therapists, nurses, childbirth educators, physiotherapists and doulas.  I’ll be speaking among  brilliant professionals in the obstetrics and birth world including Michel Odent, Thomas Hale, Michael Woolridge, Catherine Watson Genna, Allison Barrett, Sarah Buckley and Rachel Reed. Here is the program. It looks amazing and I’m so pleased to be invited to speak at this great conference again.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, emotional health, fertility, mental health

What do you do when no one understands your fertility challenges (or other health conditions)?

I thought it was just meOne of the many books next to my bed at the moment is Brene Brown‘s I thought it was just me (but it isn’t): telling the truth about perfectionism, inadequacy and power.

It’s a summary of  ideas that Brene found through a series of interviews with a large cohort of women focusing on what causes shame and how to be resilient to it.  When pregnancies don’t happen easily or don’t go to plan many men and women experience shame. As an acupuncturist with a strong interest in fertility and pregnancy support, I hear about this phenomenon from my patients on a regular basis.  I hear about their reactions to the plethora of unsolicited advice that is freely given by friends, family and total strangers. The advice often only makes them feel worse.

Fertility is not the only area where this unsolicited advice flows freely.  A friend of mine experienced the same thing with a skin condition she had on her face.  People with cancer and autoimmune diseases are often subjected with horror stories about their disease from people who ‘mean well’.  Anyone with a mental health condition could probably relate to similar experiences.  If it isn’t a horror story being shared, it is often a controversial drug protocol from a current affairs program or their cousin’s hairdresser’s pool cleaner’s nail technician’s home remedy.

A link to www.infertilityeducation.org is given in the chapter on speaking shame.  It includes a brochure titled what infertility feels like which was created for people with fertility challenges to give to friends and family to better express how they feel about their situation in the hope of creating more supportive relationships through open communication.  This idea could be applied to any situation in which you feel misunderstood.  It doesn’t have to be that you give the physical brochure out but just reading the content could give you some inspiration to structure your ideas to better communicate with the well wishers around you.  After all, most of them do want to help, they just don’t know how.  On the flip side, this sentiment also helps us to develop compassion in our relationships with the other people around us who are also facing life’s challenges, and that can only be a good thing.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.